Category Archives: Exercise 1.8

Exercise 1.8 – The Zone System

After reviewing the exercise, I recalled an image I had taken many years ago as part of a group who took one photograph a day and posted online. The image no longer exists but I knew that it was the type of image which may benefit from using the zone system.

After reading about the zone system and reading parts of Ansel Adams ‘The Negative’. I decided that I would take the opportunity of taking some related images after attending an appointment with the eye hospital in Edinburgh.

Since I was attending the hospital I only had a mobile phone with me and I knew that I would have to use it to obtain the images. Luckily the device has a option of both live view and the ability to change the explosive through a digital spot meter. While this was a challenge I knew that with a bit of planning I could manage to at least scout the areas and take preliminary images at the very least.

The day before I was attending the hospital I was watching the BBC television program “Civilisations”, a small part of the program was dedicated to Adams and his photography; one of the salient points from the program was that Adams regularly used a red filter I front of his lens when photographing.
With that in mind I knew that whatever images I took I would not only be converting to black and white but first I would be adding a red filter to the image through Photoshop.

When I arrived at my location I was already a bit fatigued from my hospital appointment and having fluorescein pushed though my body, so I was a bit unsteady, so I sat or leant against a wall for these images using one of my crutches as a form of monopod to support my hand.

zones 4

zone 3

The image was slightly easier as I knew that there wold be greater support, at least a wall and a handrail or a large Victorian metal fence to lean on.

zoness 2

Again I knew that I would have support near the ground level.

Zones 1

I was satisfied with these images, I continued to experiment with the zone system at a location near the house and managed to capture this scene between snow showers.

Zone number 2 fence


Below is a collection of other images captured during these days which were considered for the exercise.



The zone system is fascinating and I can see where I have at times already wrong in previous landscape in not taking into account the entire zone system when photographing.

As an aside I was amused by the 11 zones, which may have been the original source of the joke “But this goes up to 11” from the film ‘Spinal Tap’


Adams, A., 1995. The Negative (The Ansel Adams Photography Series, No. 2). Bulfinch.

BBC. 2018. BBC – Civilisations. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 March 2018].

Rob Reiner and Micheal McKean. (1984). Spinal Tap. [Online Video]. Clip “This goes to 11” Available from: [Accessed: 28 March 2018].